Backpacking Belize was one of the most spontaneous trips I’ve taken. I had about 10 days off from work and had been in Mexico for half of it. I was in Bacalar, a small town in the Southern part of Quintana Roo when I met a girl one afternoon who convinced me to join her on an adventure to Caye Caulker, Belize that evening. I was skeptical about going to Belize at first as I had heard it was dangerous in Belize City especially for solo female travellers. Having this partner who let me tag along with her made me feel more comfortable so I changed my plans and took the night bus with her. Luckily for me, as I work as a Flight Attendant, I didn’t have a return flight booked so I was able to just book one out of Belize City rather than heading back up to Cancun.
From Bacalar, Mexico there are a few options to get to Caye Caulker, Belize. You could take a taxi to Chetumal and then a ferry straight from there. Although this is the easiest option, its also the most expensive. The other alternative is to take the ADO night bus from Bacalar to Belize City (200 pesos), then cross the border into Belize 500 pesos (or 30 USD), a taxi from the bus station to the ferry terminal (2 USD) and then a ferry to Caye Caulker (28 BZD or 13 USD return). You’ll notice that in Belize USD is widely accepted and sometimes they’ll even price things in USD rather than BZD. You’ll also notice that things are not as cheap here than in the rest of Central America and Mexico… but more about that on my Belize Travel Tips Post.
So we made it to Caye Caulker and holy man was I ever happy I decided to join this gal because this island is SO amazing!! We dropped off our bags at our hostel and then we headed to take a nap on a beach somewhere. After walking around the island (which you can easily do because it’s not very big) we found this spot that had free lounge chairs, free wifi, a bar and a stunning swimming area called Iguana Beach Bar.
There was even a little seahorse sanctuary there!! TOO CUTE.
We spent the whole afternoon hanging out here and relaxing in paradise. We then walked around to talk to tour companies and decide what we wanted to do while on the island. There’s one main road on Caye Caulker where you’ll find all the tour shops – and generally all the prices are the same. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t shop around though. There were significant differences in the way we were talked to and treated at each place so if you’re going to be paying the same price you may as well find a company that’s knowledgable, helpful and kind.
At first we were looking at doing a snorkel trip as we’ve heard the snorkelling here is amazing. The trips were a little pricy – about 60-70 USD for a full day tour. They did look amazing though and it seemed like you would see a lot of sea life. But because our spontaneous trip to Belize wasn’t spontaneous enough we decided that instead of snorkelling we would charter a plane and do a flight over the infamous Blue Hole. This cost us 200 USD for the ferry to Belize city, taxi to the small airport and the one hour unforgettable flight over the beautiful reefs and blue hole. We’ve both done our fair share of amazing snorkel trips so this decision was a bit easier for us – the blue hole only exists here and it was one of those bucket list moments we wanted to experience.
After booking our flight we headed out for dinner. We both wanted some good local food and the best you can eat here on the island for dinner is a BBQ. You’ll notice lots of restaurants on the strip offering similar meals for similar prices. We picked a place that looked nice and had no complaints. For about 20 BZD you’ll get 2 rum punch (small cups), fish (different kinds), chicken, pork, or beef with your choice of 2 sides (usually some rice, veggies, potatoes, etc). Definitely enjoy a meal like this on the island. If you’re a fish lover the this is ideal – it’s delicious and filling.
Our second day on the island was perfect. We woke up and went to RandOm Yoga for FREE yoga. This place is amazing. The yoga studio is on the top of namaste cafe and the instructor doesn’t charge for classes as she wants everyone to be able to attend. Instead, she leaves a jar out at the end of the class and you can pay what you can afford. It’s beautiful and that’s what yoga is all about. The class itself was really great too – people from all abilities would be able to go and enjoy it. We then took some kayaks from our hostel out to this gorgeous beach on a nearby island called Koko King. You can take a boat there for free and as long as you buy food/drink at the restaurant you can take the boat back for free as well. Otherwise I think it cost 10 BZD to take the boat back. We decided to skip the boat and just kayak over since it wasn’t too far. This beach was gorgeous and was set up really nicely. There was its downsides though:
- They charge for shade.. you can’t even sit under a tree. You can sit in chairs for free…. but just not the ones in the shade. Smart business wise but no thank you. There’s this little dock you can walk to so we just spent the day there in and out of the water and in and out of the shade. It was perfect.
- The food and drinks are very expensive and the staff from what we experienced were rude and the service very slow. On the other hand we managed to get a free drink out of their crap service. If you are taking the boat back and don’t want to spend tons of money I’d recommend just getting a beer here and buying food back on the main island.
After spending the entire day at this gorgeous place we kayaked back to our hostel during the sunset. We took it easy in the night to prepare for our early flight the next morning.
Everything with our flight ran very smoothly. We hopped on the ferry, our taxi driver was waiting for us at the ferry terminal, and once we arrived at the airport we were on the plane within minutes. The flight went very well and we were able to see some beautiful reefs, shipwrecks and the amazing blue hole. Our pilot also made sure to circle around the blue hole a few times on both sides so that everyone was able to get the perfect view. It was such a small plane though that you were able to see everything from both sides.
After our flight my friend was moving on south to meet up with some other friends and I headed back to the Island for my last day in paradise. I went back to the Laguna Beach Bar and I stayed there for most of the afternoon. Not only did I enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets here but I was lucky enough to see some awesome sea life too including a manta ray, some more sea horses and lots of cool fish.
For dinner I went to Chef Juan’s Kitchen as I read their reviews were amazing – it definitely didn’t disappoint – it was the best meal I had on the island.
Before I left in the morning for the airport I stopped at Crepes and Dreams for some DELICIOUS gluten free crepes.
I had met a girl at yoga who was on my flight so we were able to take a taxi together to the airport and split the cost. We then went for lunch outside the airport and hung out before our flight. We had shared a near death experience on our way to Belize Airport so we had bonded quite quickly. Our taxi driver was going at least 160 km/h speeding past everyone and passing cars when you could definitely not see if there was oncoming traffic. There were SEVERAL close calls for head on collisions and at one point we turned and slid onto the dirt side road and started to spin out of control. We had to tell him to slow TF down.
Other than almost dying on my way back to the airport, Belize was one of my favourite places I’ve been and I’m so glad I randomly decided to go! I hope you enjoy your time in paradise as much as I did.